Episode 5 - The Ultimate Triathlon Race Day Pack List

The Ultimate Triathlon Race Day Pack List

Have you ever got to a race and realised you’d forgotten something?! You invest so much time and energy training... to not be able to perform at your best because you forgot something on the day is the worst!

After watching this happen at every race I’ve been to plus a few failings of my own, the Race Day Pack List was born!

Download your own copy at www.dietitianapproved.com/racepacklist

This list contains everything you may need to pack for race day. For the swim, bike, run and also when you’re not racing. Some items are important. Others are optional or nice to have. Print it out and tick each item off when it’s packed so you never forget anything again!


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Episode Transcription

EP 5 – The Ultimate Triathlon Race Day Pack List

Have you ever got to a race and realise you'd forgotten something? It's the worst. I've forgotten goggles and had to buy them at the Expo. I've forgotten my race belt, you know the one that you toggle your race number to. I had to pin my number to my tri suit which is not ideal because it makes holes. I’ve forgotten my shoes once, not my runners. I wore my runners to the race and then you know put them in transition and realised I had nothing to put on my feet.

So I don't think these failures are so bad. I've seen way worse. I've seen people forget helmets, bike shoes, I've seen people forget nutrition. But you know, I pretty quickly wised up like, after a couple of races I was like, “Right. I'm going to write this stuff down. Have a list and make sure that every time I race, I just tick it off and then I'll never forget anything.” And so the Race Day Pack List was born!

If you're new to triathlon this is going to be gold! But if you've been doing it for a while, I reckon you're probably across most of these things. But I guarantee - listen, and you'll learn something or maybe pick up a tip or two. So if you want to download a copy of this, head to dietitianapproved.com/racepacklist. It contains everything you're going to need to pack for race day.

Some items are important and others are, you know, maybe optional or might be nice to have, or more suitable for long course vs. short course. Because you probably need a bit less for a sprint tri than something like an Ironman. So print it out, tick it off each time when it's packed. you can also adjust it based on your specific needs. But make sure that you never forget anything on race day.

So I'm going to run you through it. If you're currently driving or sitting on the wind trainer, make sure you get a copy and you can download it at dietitianapproved.com/racepacklist. I'll put a link in the show notes here too.  

Your Street Gear Bag

Alright! Your street bag. So you know the bag that you've got with you when you're not racing. A few ideas for what goes in here. So maybe some extra clothes, what you want to wear maybe before or after, like are you the type of person that wants to get changed out of there tri suit afterwards? So packing some extra clothes. You might want to pack some shoes to wear as well - don't do what I did. So not your runners. Pack something that you want to wear before and after.

I'd pop an extra towel in here. You're going to have one for transition and we'll talk about that. But you might want one for before as well. So you might want to sit down on it while you're waiting for your race. You might want it for afterwards to dry off or have a shower or wipe the sweaty dirty seaweed beard off your face for photos yo or you might want it for the car seat afterwards if you driving home so that you don't ruin your car seat with sweaty, salty liquid. I'd suggest packing a water bottle that goes in here as well. So it's something to sip on heading into the race. It's also good rehydration fluid for afterwards.

If you can keep your bag somewhere secure, maybe pack a camera, just a small one or you know phones are pretty good these days. So you could just have that for your photos depending on how legit you are. But make sure that one stays somewhere safe if you're going to bring it.

Recovery nutrition needs to go in this bag. The number of people I see, in fact, I don't think anyone does a good job of this but packing recovery nutrition for after your race. So it's one of the modules we go through in the Triathlon Nutrition Academy. I’m going to give you a strategy for specifically what to do for you, but make sure you've got something here. Okay? Otherwise, you muck around at the finish line for ages. There might be some fruit or sports drink or water you know, if there's an Ironman, you're eating meals, you've got meals available. But whether you feel like eating that or not is another thing. But make sure you've got something here.

ID, I guess it's always just safe to have that. And you know money or a card or you know, Apple Pay to buy stuff at the expo before and after. Or if you forget something.

Hot tip is also a little packet of tissues. You know those tiny little ones that are maybe a packet of 10. They can double as toilet paper as well if the loo roll runs out. And you know, if you need to blow your nose or something. Or have a cry.

Bike pump, toolkit, spare tubes. Okay? In case of a mechanical, don't sort of leave it to chance that nothing's going to happen. Because, you know, chances are something might. Your tires might go flat. You might want to pump up your tires the morning of the race too. I always used to take a pump to transition and just pump them up fresh pre-race. If you’re with a buddy, you could sort of double up and only one person brings a pump. Otherwise, you're kind of relying on a random stranger in transition to borrow theirs. Which is fine. Triathletes are great mates. But everyone might be doing that. And so it might take you a while to get in and borrow that too. So just get yourself organised and pack one or if you're in a group, then share one. But definitely have some sort of spare kit or tube or you know, puncture repair kit with you as well.

Sunscreen. Okay. So you know, here in Australia, it's pretty hot and sunny. Most people are all on top of this. But the number of triathletes I've seen red raw because they've forgotten to put on sunscreen or they've missed a spot or their tri suit isn't sort of SPF safe. And I guess a chapstick that's SPF or zinc or something to go on the lips too. So obviously in summer down under here that's more important than maybe winter. But the sun's always damaging. So making sure you've got sunscreen and you're applying it in our summer a couple of times because it's likely to come off.

Alright, now we're going to go through what you might need for the swim, bike and run just to help you sort of streamline the things that you're packing in your mind so that you're not forgetting anything too.


So things that you're going to need for the swim are your tri suit or your race suit or whatever you're wearing. If you're a girl, you might want to wear a sports bar or crop top or something underneath. Boys, you might want to wear speedos or DTs or you know, budgie smugglers, whatever you want to call them. Or whatever you normally wear underneath your tri suit.

You're going to need a cap. Now you often get given one. I always pack a spare one just in case. And sometimes I'd wear my cap underneath and then put the race cap over the top of that because they're really thin and cheap. And they rip easily, but they don't stay on your head that well if you've got hair and if it's cold water then a double cap is not a bad idea. You're going to need your goggles. And hot tip, take some goggle anti-fog spray so that you can see.

Body glide potentially. So even if you're just wearing a tri suit, you might want to put some body glide type stuff underneath your arm so they don't rub or anywhere else that you know your tri suit rubs.

Your pre-swim nutrition. So whatever you going to have pre-race, you want to pack with you as well. So I popped it in here in the swim section to make sure it's not forgotten. And obviously, that's going to be different depending on the type of race that you're doing. Whether it's just a sprint or Olympic versus 70.3 and beyond, you might want to have a different strategy for different races, but making sure that you do pack that and you don't forget it.

Sunscreen! So making sure you put sunscreen on before the swim and give it enough time to make sure that it's soaked in before you get in the water. Otherwise, it's just going to wash itself off.

Towels. We've already talked about this, but you might want one for transition and then one of your street bag for before or after the race.

So the one that goes in transition. My hot tip here is to have a really loud, bright, out there towel, something that you can easily recognise. I used to have a blue and white striped towel that was my transition towel. And I would lay it down and instantly as I'm running out of the swim into transition, I could see it. So I know exactly where my bike is because I'm looking for the towel. I'm not looking for the bike in the sea of bikes because it'd be impossible. Try and pick a towel that's out there. Try not to use a previous race towel because chances are somebody else is going to be using that and you might get lost.

For the swim, you might also need a wetsuit. If it's a wetsuit swim so that one's optional on the list. And hot tip for your wetsuit to get it on is plastic bags. So pack two. So you can put one over each foot, up your ankle and up your leg, before you put your wetsuit on, it makes getting your wetsuit on over that first really sticky bit, you know how they get stuck down at your ankles, it makes that whole process of getting your wetsuit on and up your calves so much easier because it slides easily and then you can pull it down if you need to, but pulling it up as a mission.

And then obviously, whatever watch or heart rate monitor you want to use. So I've popped this in the swim section. So you might want to have something different for the swim, you might want to have a wristwatch. If you don't have a multi-sport one that goes on your wrist for the whole thing. If you want to track your swim and you know heart rate monitor on if you want that for the race as well. So optional.


Alright! Things you're going to need for the bike. Your going to need your bike, obviously, you're going to need your bike shoes and your helmet. You might want to bring sunnies here. Even if it's dark or rainy, you might want to think about having some clear lens frames,  so that you can see if it's cloudy or rainy.

And in transition, I generally kept these in my helmet. So I popped the sunnies on first and then helmet went straight over and clipped on. So it was super fast and super quick. On the bike, you might want your bike computer if you don't have a multi-sport watch on your wrist. And you can set it up ready to go in transition in the morning. So turn the sleep mode off so it's still on and have it ready to go.

You're going to need water bottles for the bike depending on how long it is, depends on what you're doing in them and how many you need. And also your bike nutrition as well. So again, that would depend on the race. Your strategy is totally different for a sprint versus Olympic. And then also 70.3 and ironman are completely different. It would also depend on the conditions on the day too, right? So whether it's hot or cold. And if it's super hot, you might want to look at freezing your bottles if they're going to melt in time for you to race.

Rubber bands. So these are optional but I found this really useful when I was racing to tie to the back of my shoe. And I tied it to my bike frame. And that held my shoes level. So that when I did my flying mount, I could easily put my feet on my shoes because my shoes were flat. They weren't hanging down with the heels down. So if you're into flying mounts or you're going to kind of jump on quickly, then rubber bands might be a good option here to have a go. And definitely try that in training before you do it on race day. Because you want to make sure that the rubber bands aren't too tight that they don't break when you do start to pedal.

Alright, and if you're doing an ironman, your bike transition bag is obviously going to contain all those things. You might want to add sunscreen in here too so that you can reapply in transition.


Alright, run. So things you're going to need for the run. You're obviously going to need your runners, your shoes, whatever you want to call them. You might want to think about elastic laces so that you can quickly shove your foot in without having to sit down and tie up places. You might want a visor or a hat or something to put on your head. And you should have your sunnies from the bike, but if you weren't using them on the bike, then throw them in your running shoe or somewhere near your hat so you can quickly grab those as you're running out and transition.

Any race nutrition that you're going to need for the run and a race belt. So depending if you've put it on for the bike, or depending if it's a fuelling type belt, but it's either the one where you toggle your race number onto it or it might have loops in it to put gels in there or sports lollies like blocks and chews and things or it might even be bigger than that and you've got a water bottle in there as well. So depending on what type of belt or fuelling you're going to use for the run. You might want to have it in a belt, you might want to have it in a handheld flask, you might want to have a soft flask, you might even want to use a Camelback. So just whatever your racing belt nutrition is, make sure you've got that organised too.

Socks for the run. So obviously optional. I probably wouldn't sit down and put socks on if you're going to do a sprint race. If you're getting hectic blisters, then you need to look at a different solution than sitting down and putting socks on. Because there's just not enough time to faff around in transition. But if you're doing an Ironman, you might want to sit down dry feet, put some socks on. And then again, if you're doing an Ironman, your run nutrition bag, I would probably put some sunscreen in here too so that you can reapply before you go and do your marathon.

Alright, that's it! That's my race day pack list. I hope that you've got something out of that. And that you don't forget anything next time. If you think I forgotten something, please let me know. I'd love to hear about it. And if you want to download a copy for yourself, you can do that at dietitianapproved.com/racepacklist and I'll pop the link in the show notes. Print it out, tick it off and make sure you don't forget anything next time!

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